By: Adam Morris, Health Reporter
2 October 2010
HUNDREDS of teenage girls in the Lothians who left school early are missing out on a potentially live-saving jab.While the uptake of the HPV vaccine – which guards against the main causes of cervical cancer – in schools is good, for those who have left at 16 and 17 the picture is worse.
Figures have shown only a third of the 1400 girls who left school in the fourth or fifth year have received the first of three vaccinations, meaning NHS Lothian has one of the lowest uptakes in the country. This is despite the vaccine being free for under 18s.
In contrast, more than 90 per cent of eligible girls in the school system received the inoculation since its launch two years ago.
In a bid to improve rates in older girls, the health board said they have now created more venues and opened out-of-hours to solve the problem.
Cllr Lesley Hinds, Labour’s health spokeswoman in Edinburgh, said: “The uptake in schools has been fantastic and that’s credit to the publicity campaigns, but perhaps it’s time to think about aiming it away from schools.
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